Saturday, July 3, 2010

One year of softbank sucks

On the one year anniversary of this blog, I have one thing to say.

Thank you Softbank.

Well, I guess I have a few more things to say.

Like, thank you readers! If no one visited this site, I probably wouldn't have the motivation to continue posting. I installed code for Google Analystics at the end of January, and have seen a modest but steady increase in unique visitors per day.

For work, I've been pretty much required to use Macs, which used to be a real chore until Mac OS X was released with a UNIX-like kernel. So, if it wasn't for Softbank, I would have certainly become an iPhone user, even though I've always been a fan of linux.

While an iPhone can be jailbroken to get root access allowing installation of otherwise unavailable applications, the fact that the iOS is closed source means users will never have access to custom kernels or an entire custom ROM compiled from source.

The iPhone is certainly a slick package, but as a whole Android and the linux kernel are where it's at.

The focus of this blog has changed in ways I never imagined a year ago. So now that the point of this blog is no longer about trying to figure out exactly what qualifies one to become an iPhone owner and customer of Softbank, I'm thinking about making a few more fundamental changes.

Changes to what? I'm not really sure yet. I've been thinking of changing the name of the blog, but not sure if I want to invest the time to do it properly. I'd probably need to leave this as is with a redirect to the new blog so that readers can continue to find it. I've also briefly considered getting hosting service, but the amount of time I have to put into this blog means that it is probably not worth the expense.

And besides, is being squatted, since before Android was first released, but some twat in Saitama.


  1. Congrats!!!
    Keep up the good work.

  2. If you make a new blog I would suggest a new theme the comments can get a bit messy in this one.

    Keep up the good work though I love your blog.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions and the compliment. Any other suggestions?

    There is not a good comment system for blogger. If I did make a new blog, I would certainly do it in wordpress instead, which has a much better commenting system.

    I think it is the threading that makes it messy. The comments on the Desire thread are an absolute disaster.

    Would it make it easier to follow if I decreased the maximum amount of threading to one or perhaps two at most maximum nested replies? I think Disqus has an option for that.

  4. Yeah I think that limiting the threading would really help. I know will do wordpress hosting as well as Drupal. Drupal takes a bit of elbow grease to get it looking really nice but you really have a ton of power with all of the plugins. Wordpress is definitely easier though.

    Have you checked out "Loco in Yokohama"He blog?

    He uses wordpress and I think his site looks pretty slick and his comments seam to work pretty well.

    One thing that would make me really happy as far as site content is if you could post a more thorough step by step how to on rooting the HT-03a and installing Cyogen. I really want to do it but I got a bit confused I am tired of waiting for a decent Android handset on Docomo and want to get the most out of this one.

  5. Just changed it to a max of two nested replies. The other thing annoying about this is I never want newest comments displayed first because it is just confusing, but I there doesn't seem to be an option to only display oldest comment first.

    I'll check out to see what I'd have to pay for hosting and, based on the traffic trends, if I'd have to start paying for extra bandwidth anytime soon. Probably not.

    Yeah, Locohama's is well done. I forget who put it together for him. If I do it, I'd probably pretty much build it from the ground up. I used to do that work part time.

    I'll see about editing the old post to be more specific. Basically, the unlockr's guides are the most detailed, but they are focused on other handsets that are easier to root due to the shipped SPL. And, the only guide that does work for the ht-03a has apparent inconsistencies (what to name the sappimg file, etc.) and notices saying "this procedure is out of date, use this another one" or something like that, which is true if your using a T-mobile phone but not necessarily if you aren't. Anyway, I agree. It is confusing.

    The best one is the bare bones guide on XDA by Amon_RA. It doesn't hold the hand wrt the command line, but those are the steps to follow, and if you find the right one on the unlockr's site, the steps are absolutely identical. The unlockr just goes in to more detail.

    All the links are on the post for making a goldcard with OS X or linux.

    If you do root it, it will be like having a brand new phone, trust me ;-)

  6. See, this is what I'm talking about, the oldest reply is on top, but then the order switches and my reply is above yours... As is this one... まあ、しょうがないな〜。

  7. As far as content is concerned, I would really like to see a consolidation of general "smartphone users in Japan" kind of information. It certainly took me a LOT of searching through gaijinpot, xda-dev, and countless other discussion forums to learn all the basic information I need to confidently import a phone and slide in a Softbank SIM (for those curious, I haven't yet, but only because I'm waiting for the Dell Streak to become available unlocked for $500 sometime this month).

    Other examples could be how some phones interact with closed protocols or which phones don't interact at all (I read in a comment earlier that Softbank didn't even bother coding an S!Mail app for the Desire... That can be a bit of important information if Japanese cellphones still filter any email that isn't from a carrier!).

    From what I have experienced so far, what smartphone information isn't out in the open takes a lot of digging to find.

  8. Congrats man! This site (along w/ some random google searching) def. helped me w/ the decision on whether to go with the Desire or Iphone 3GS. Great job. Keep it up!

  9. > How did you stumble across this site?

    Through intensive google searching... Hate to bear bad news, but it was REALLY intense, this page was pretty hard to stumble across through Google alone.

    > To be honest, I am surprised they did it with the iPhone, but I guess they didn't make it clear enough that it was going to have mail issues and had no real choice in the matter.

    Really? I have had an old-assed X02HT (Winmo), and even there they bothered with making a (badly coded, buggy, unwieldy) S!mail app for this little old phone, so I assumed the Desire was the exception here.

    I wonder if it is possible to dissect one of the S!mail applications and devise a way to make a generic cross-platform Android app... I mean, how complicated can a unique e-mail protocol be?

    Anyway, if you're planning on a guide of some sort down the line, I love to help/consolidate any information.

  10. Not to worry about bearing bad news since we already know the site has a very low page rank.

    How long ago was that winmo phone released? I just checked all of Docomo and softbank's smarphones and not a single one is compatible with yahoo! keitai or i-mode. The iPhone is the only with a softbank address, though not the

    What exactly is S! mail? I get the impression it is MMS and not referring to mail from a address. Is this wrong?

    I started working on the guide and may post what is there now for inspection/correction/deletion/commentation.

  11. uh, I apparently can't reply to a post made four-replies deep, so I'm replying to myself here...

    Anyway, perhaps there is some confusion on what I mean by S!mail. It is basically the way Softbank does keitai email. Its not a universal connection like most email services, and it requires a special program to send emails (perhaps the login information is kept on the Softbank servers and it uses some other unique ID to identify the user?)

    My phone is pretty aged. I think the model is upward of 5-6 years old (HTC Cavalier), while this particular one is over two years old. The proprietary mail program that interfaces with S!mail is called ArcSoft Mailer, and as you can guess, nowhere in the options can login information, username/password, connection destination, or any of those advanced features can be found. But I guess the importance of my phone isn't that big of a deal come to think of it, since it is Windows Mobile, and Softbank's smartphone lineup has usually been pretty heavy on that (isn't the Desire the first android phone for SB?). Likely they didn't need to do a lot of shoehorning to get the Arcsoft mail application into most Winmo phones.

    Since I can change my email address without having to touch my phone settings, it leads me to believe that the program interfaces with SB servers in some special way, and the servers do all the email stuff like login, download/upload from the mail server without actually touching an outside client.

  12. I recently changed the maximum amount of treaded replies to two because it was getting to be a mess. try following the discussion on this post, which spans four months during which treaded replies were unlimited.

    So S! Mail is the equivalent of i-mode mail, then it seems. What you describe sounds like the standard carrier email - which I thought was inseparable from from the "platform" online service (i-mode for docomo, EZweb for AU, and Yahoo! keitai for Softbank).

    On the bottom of the Desire page, is all the fine print which includes this
    X06HT is not compatible with Yahoo! Keitai or other SoftBank services.

    But, I am not sure how correct all the fine print is because it also mentions the "preinstalled mobile Internet Explorer" which is obviously only on winmo phones.

    And speaking of winmo phones, this one (actually all the current winmo phones as far as I can see) has the same disclaimer, which is why I was confused because we know for a fact the desire doesn't have a address, and comparing fine print, it would seem that neither do the current winmo phones, since it says they don't support yahoo! keitai, softbank's online platform.

    Maybe I should just stop in a store and ask.

  13. オk. now I get it.!メール

    They are calling it MMS because it is capable of attachments. So it is not really MMS per se, but simply email. So, yes this is carrier mail.

    And it is quite interesting that your old winmo phone is capable of it but, according to the product pages, none of the new winmo phones are compatible. So apparently no address on any new softbank smartphone.

    iPhone users get the address which I am pretty sure is linked to an IMAP server supporting IDLE commands to push mail.

  14. Hi everyone,

    I'm replying to the problem of receiving S!Mail on an android device. S!mails are only mms with a verification on the phone user-agent. Most carrier are not using this parameter but softbank checks it to ensure only softbank cell phones are using the service.
    You need to setup the correct APN (for mms) and modify the message application from you cell phone to change this user agent.
    I posted on xda about this a while ago:

    My solution involves some dirty work on the bytecode but you can find pre-modified .apk

  15. So, I had it right the first time, it is just MMS. What does softbank call their regular carrier mail? But S! Mail appears to also use the address, so how do you work around that if you bought a desire and didn't get an address? Obviously if you slip a SIM from a feature phone into an Android device, you have the address associated with the other phone...

  16. (replying to softbanksucks about S!mail)
    I'm not sure softbank ever had a real mail service, is really just an alias for the phone number behind (there is now way to check your s!mail on a webmail for example). iphone users have a totally different system (and consequently a different address which may be a real email system.
    I'm surprised that users with a HTC Desire cannot subscribe to the S!Basic pack (which comes along with an address), it is usually mandatory for any packet plan. I will try to look at the thread on the Desire, did not read it yet.
    Anyway, IMHO users with a packet plan should not use this S!mail, gmail client for android makes a better job. I was only using it when I was on a prepaid softbank card, 315Yens/month was a good deal for unlimited emails.

  17. Elliatab,
    > Anyway, IMHO users with a packet plan should not use this S!mail, gmail client for android makes a better job

    Well one of the issues I have heard about (though since I have been using a email address so I have never experienced it) is that many Japanese cellphones automatically bounce emails that are not from the short whitelist of carrier email addresses. So one concern I have had is how much of a problem this can be if your phone does not support the MMS/email Frankenstein that is S!mail.

    Its strange that Softbank gave up on mail apps for smartphones, though... Especially since they already have the app, perhaps they decided it would be cheaper to stiff Arcsoft :)
    Could this mean that the practice of bouncing non-carrier mails is being discouraged? I can't see any other justification Softbank would have for selling a product that is only partially functional. It would certainly be better sounding if they said that not everybody can receive an email because their phones are older models that don't support it than to say they can't receive mails because your phone doesn't support it.

    Also, I can see that the S!mail model could be more expensive to operate than just handling mail through generic packets.


    That new information about Softbank carrier mail is interesting! So from what I can gather everybody is saying, when you send an email, you're actually sending an MMS to a special SB phone number, which then converts it into an E-mail and sends it out to the desired address from their servers.

    Any more information about what happens on Softbank's side? Does each SIM card send to a unique phone number? If so, how is that determined for each SIM card? Perhaps the mail app has an algorithm that crunches the IMSI into a phone number?

    Or maybe there's a shortlist of numbers that are randomly chosen, and each MMS contains IMSI info somewhere on it so the server knows which email address to send from.

    Question on the MMS .apk you made: how universally applicable is it? I haven't dove into Android yet, but could the same apk be used in other android devices to achieve the same results? Or would it have to be modified for each phone?

  18. awesome site! I hate soft bank myself...had to go to two stores to try and get help with my problem of being "unsubscribed to this service" regarding text messaging. So apparently you have to ASK for them to take a *whopping* 300 yen out of the money you pay for the service (3,000 minimum) in order to text...........The first guy I saw was like, "Hmmm...this person does not have soft bank thus you cannot communicate." I was like, "Oh really? :D" and then after a few seconds, "wait...!! We were just texting the other day!" then after a few more weird guesses and asking to see my alien registration card and then trying to text his phone with mine even...he was like, "I have no idea ^-^ go somewhere else~" Then I went back to the store I refilled my phone with and the lady was like, "Are you SURE you want to pay an entire 300 yen for this service?" I was like, "O-o um...yes..." and she asked me a few times...
    Softbank...another bad experience was when I first moved to Japan I got hassled by this group of Softbank guys and then they started laughing at me because I said, "densha" instead of "denwa" u_u

    Also why was the only prepaid phone available absolutely dreadful and white...and plain...untouchable...and no internet...

    I guess its kinda like me though (white, plain, untouchable, and my brain/body don't receive the internet) x3